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by Ron HollandBehind the smile and just beyond the warm eyes is a tortured soul. Sure, there’s laughter and nice conversation. But simmering beneath the surface is hurt, pain, confusion; bewilderment, exhaustion, frustration; resentment, self-loathing; feelings of worthlessness, low self-esteem; feelings of abandonment, insurmountable sadness; endless yearning for real happiness, insecurity, deep despair and an incomprehensible loneliness. These feelings are especially pronounced when we’re besieged by the bevy of challenges in life. And interestingly enough, I’VE JUST DESCRIBED THE TORTURED SOUL OF A LOT OF YOUR FAVORITE PEOPLE IN THE BIBLE.

You’re familiar with the names. David, Elijah, Hanna; Paul. From Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel to Jonah, Hosea and so many others in scripture, a form of mental illness, anguish, self-loathing; sadness, deep depression and sometimes really strange behavior gripped these heroes of scripture. Irrespective of the context in which why these people in scripture suffered mentally, the pain was most certainly real. And, apart from building our faith tradition from people who suffered so much spiritually and mentally, the salient point here is that no one is immune from these awful feelings. Just as Elijah wanted the Lord to take away his life or Hanna was deeply distressed and “wept bitterly” or David beckoned the Lord in his moment of distress or when the prophets of old exhibited utterly bizarre behavior in which the most fantastic prophetic prouncements emerged, human beings have always grappled with depression and other mental health issues.

And while faith and prayer is often used to subvert these feelings, no amount of hermeneutics or exegesis can obscure the intense despair, loneliness and confusion which can overwhelm even the most “spiritual” among us. And no amount of money, fame or position can shield us from the bleak and desolate gloom that lurks inside.

Although prayer is critically important, it’s equally important that if you’re suffering from depression, regardless of depth, talk to someone. Lean on the shoulder of the people you love. Reach out and express how you feel to help relieve the pain inside. PLEASE, TALK TO SOMEONE!

Ron Holland is the host of the Public Affairs show, ‘COMMUNITY VOICES’ on WPZS -100.9 & 92.7 FM, Charlotte. He’s also a Producer and Board Operator for WOSF – Old School 105.3 FM. Ron is also a Production Assistant with all three stations. Any thoughts on this week’s commentary send Ron an email: ronholland@radio-one.com